So, with the focus being on the safety of victims including tamariki of family violence, there are four situations in which a Protection Order can made.
A final Protection Order does not have a time limit. It stays in place until one of the parties applies to discharge it and the court agrees. The effects of a Protection Order are significant. There are standard conditions, and the court can impose special conditions to protect a person or whānau.
Applications for protection can be made urgently, that is, without notice to the violent party and dealt with by a Family Court judge on the same day. This means that, if the protection order is granted, the violent party will not know about the application or what is said until after the protection order is made.
An order made without notice to the other side is a Temporary Protection Order. Once served, and the violent party takes no steps to oppose it, it automatically becomes a final order after 3 months.
There are three things that the applicant must include in an application for a Protection Order.
First, there must be (or have been) a family relationship between the people involved. De facto relationships, same sex relationships, siblings, can all qualify.
Second, there must have been violence or a real threat of violence. Violence includes physical, sexual, psychological, financial, and other sorts of violence. Restricting a person’s contact with friends or whānau is violence. Intimidation or harassment are violence. A pattern of behaviour that might seem minor on their own but are more significant when looked at together can also be violence.
The third thing is to show that the order is necessary for the protection of the applicant. Is the violence likely to be repeated?
Whenever a protection order is made it will also automatically cover tamariki who regularly reside with the protected person. The Protection Order prevents contact between the violent person and tamariki until safe arrangements can be made and, in most cases, approved by the Family Court.